Despite national teacher shortage Butler County Schools celebrate full occupancy

Published 7:00 am Monday, August 21, 2023

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The Butler County Board of Education excitedly announced that all teaching positions have been filled for all Butler County schools at the board meeting on Aug. 10. This announcement is a triumph for the county as a teacher shortage sweeps the state and country. 

To help ease this shortage issue Governor Ivey signed a bill that allows teachers to receive emergency certificates, which the Butler County School systems are utilizing. 

Michael Nimmer, District one board member, said it is truly a relief to now have all teaching positions occupied. 

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“It’s not just teachers that are in shortage, it’s bus drivers, custodians, and other necessary staff positions as well,” Nimmer said. “Last year they had to deploy the National Guard in Maryland to drive school buses due to how short staffed they were. Since COVID many teachers have retired early. Last year was really hard for our county to fill teaching positions, but as of right now we have all of the teachers needed for Pre-K through 12th-grade in Butler County. I’m telling you, it’s a relief.”

Joseph Eiland, Butler County Superintendent, said COVID-19’s impact on the nation has affected all job positions in general. 

“People don’t want to go into teaching anymore,” Eiland said. “I think the reality is that everyone perceives the teaching career as a low paying job. In Butler County and Crenshaw County it’s not a low paying job, but it has become the perception. We have teachers right now with great salaries who are making more than they ever have. But COVID had a tremendous impact in general on the entire nation in regards to people and careers.”

Tina Powell, the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and the Butler County Board of Education, explained that for a teacher to qualify for an emergency certificate they must have a bachelor’s degree and pass a background check. Teachers are allowed to teach up to four years in a classroom with the certificate while they continue to complete all requirements for a traditional teaching certificate. 

If they have not completed the requirements within those four years they will either become long-term substitutes with a lower pay, or they will be required to leave the school. 

Upon signing the legislation, Governor Ivey issued the following statement which said the new bill will still maintain high standards of quality and professionalism during this time.

“As Alabama continues to face teacher shortages, particularly in math and science, efforts are being undertaken to fill vacancies in those positions with qualified persons with academic experience outside the teaching profession,” Ivey said. “One such approach, HB 342, expands access to high-quality alternative certification pathways for new teachers that comply with rigorous standards, while also maintaining the professionalism and quality of the teaching profession.”